Easy Living: The Rise of the Home Office

How did Americans come to believe that working at home is feasible, productive, and desirable? Easy Living examines how the idea of working within the home was constructed and disseminated in popular culture and mass media during the twentieth century. Through the analysis of national magazines and newspapers, television and film, and marketing and advertising materials from the housing, telecommunications, and office technology industries, Easy Living traces changing concepts about what it meant to work in the home. These ideas reflected larger social, political-economic, and technological trends of the times. Elizabeth A. Patton reveals that the notion of the home as a space that exists solely in the private sphere is a myth, as the social meaning of the home and its market value in relation to the public sphere are intricately linked.

ELIZABETH A. PATTON is an assistant professor of media and communication studies at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. She is the co-editor of Home Sweat Home: Perspectives on Housework and Modern Domestic Relationships.


"Patton draws on an impressive array of archival sources to demonstrate how communication technologies and architectural design have constructed ideals about working at home. Her nuanced historical analysis importantly reveals that our contemporary struggles over work/life balance are not new." -- Amy Corbin, author of Cinematic Geographies and Multicultural Spectatorship in America